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Black Friday Expects Record Numbers; but is It Too Materialistic?

Posted on the 25 November 2011 by Periscope @periscopepost
Black Friday expects record numbers; but is it too materialistic?

Black Friday shoppers: Shop till you drop. Photocredit:

152 million people are expected to shop over Black Friday weekend this year – up 10 per cent from last year.  This number might even be less than the actual number – last year, the National Retail Federation in America estimated 138 million; the real number was 212 million.

They’re expected to spend around $500 billion – up 3 per cent on last year.

Shops opened on Thursday night, rather than the traditional early Friday morning, which is expected to boost numbers. Employees were not always happy about it though, some petitioning against it, including Target employee Anthony Hardwick, who managed to gather 200,000 signatures. It’s a hugely important day for retailers (hence “black”, as retailers start to turn a profit.) Big discounts are drawing people in, as Americans hunt for that crucial bargain. Let’s hope, however, that they don’t all end up like the Walmart in Los Angeles. 10 people were injured after a shopper used pepper spray. reported that the injuries were down to “rapid crowd movement.”

“A full holiday with family is not just for the elite of this nation — all Americans should be able to break bread with loved ones and get a good night’s rest on Thanksgiving! Join me in calling for Target retail stores to push back their original opening time of 5 a.m. on Black Friday,” wrote Anthony Hardwick in his petition, quoted on

Night of the Living Dead? Some aren’t quite so happy, though, with members of the Occupy Wall Street movement suggesting that one ought not to shop. That’ll show those corporate giants, they suggest. In Boise, Idaho, the 75-strong camp plans to send out “consumer zombies” in silent protest at what they see as “unnecessary spending”, according to The Daily Mail. Analysts, however, were confident that their stance wouldn’t have much of an effect.

“Black Friday really shows how greedy and materialistic people can be when stores have sales. It’s pathetic, really,” tweeted Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who, Periscope would like to point out, is obviously not at all either of those things.

Consuming passions. At Macy’s, Herald Square, New York, 9,000 people were waiting outside. Despite a small protest outside, shoppers were keen, reported Stephanie Clifford on the NY Times. They ranged from regular shoppers to Korean students to visiting ladies from Key West. Joe Delgado, a student from New Jersey, camped outside the Best Buy in Lawrenceville for over 24 hrs: he and his friends had a plan of the shop, and were aiming to splash out on DVDs and video games. ““It’s been fun. But now I’m really tired. And I really have to go to the bathroom,” he said.

What about your family? Opinions were mixed regarding the new opening times, reported The Washington Post. 19-year old Joel Castillo said. “Sometimes we have to make sacrifices with the economy being what it is,” he said. “Hopefully next year they move it back so you get to spend Thanksgiving with your family and then do Black Friday.”

Real meaning. True, said the editorial in The Salisbury Post. It’s about time we treated shopping “less like a race to the finish and more like an exercise in thoughtful giving.” The paper welcomed the move to Thanksgiving openings, as it lessened the pressure on consumers. So let’s shop – but let’s remember what Christmas is actually for. The Sun Sentinel, however, was less impressed.  It called for credit to be given to those employees who stood up against Thanksgiving openings, and “for trying to erect a bulwark protecting the one American holiday that has long resisted the encroachment of commercialism.”

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